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How Much Does a New Baby Cost?

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It took Adam and I a long time to decide to have a baby. I mean, we always knew we wanted children, but making the choice to actually DO it was hard, really hard.

I am the most indecisive person ever. And I over think everything. Needless to say, choosing to bring a child into this world, our world, wasn’t something I took lightly and initially, (as is the case with many people, I suspect) we were waiting for the “right” time.

What would this mythical state, this perfect conflagration of factors look like? Well, I figured we would have to sell Adam’s business. We would also have to own our own home, naturally. And of course, we would have to have moved close by my mom because I couldn’t fathom becoming a mother myself without having my own mother arms reach away.

We would have to have all our debts paid off, with money in the bank, and finally, we would have had to have traveled the world to our heart’s content, checked off all of our must-see people and places before making this most monumental of decisions to Settle Down.

At the time, when I thought about this list, it seemed rational. Logical. It seemed like the smart thing to do- get everything tidily squared away, wrap up all of the loose ends on one chapter of our lives before embarking on the next.

It complicated matters that we couldn’t just accidentally “get pregnant”. One of the medications I take for my kidney condition is incompatible with pregnancy, and my nephrologist advised me that I would have to stop taking it at least two months prior to conception in order for all traces to be out of my system, lest our child be born a horrifying mutant.

Somehow this made it even more important that all of the above conditions be met-  if we had to plan it, it better be perfect, right?

But as time went on, I began to realize that this list, this checklist of Conditions That Must Be Met Before Bringing A Child Into The World, was completely unrealistic. It was never going to happen. And if it did it wouldn’t be for five or ten more years and what were we doing in the meantime?

Waiting. Just waiting for that perfect storm.

So instead of continuing to wait, I did an uncharacteristic thing for me, I decided we just needed to jump in feet first and make it work. And so far (fingers crossed) it has.

We didn’t sell Adam’s business exactly, but it did change hands and the situation has resolved itself in a way that has benefited everyone.

We don’t own a home, but we have managed to save a decent amount that will enable us to do this sometime in the future.

We haven’t moved, we don’t live any closer to my mom. But there are boats and cars and buses for a reason, right? And there’s nothing stopping a move like this from happening somewhere down the road.

We don’t have debt, not personally anyway. Our car is paid off, credit cards carry zero balance. And most months we do have money in the bank after everything is accounted for (until I start looking around on Etsy anyway 😉 )

And finally, we didn’t travel much, not as much as I wanted to, but we went to Hawaii, Mexico, Calgary and a million other smallish trips here and there. I don’t regret a thing.

This miles-long preamble is to present you with the following list, which is a compendium of what we have spent since finding out I was pregnant. I kept track of this because the dollars and cents of having a baby was always one of those things I worried about prior to conceiving – how much would it all cost?

In addition to all of the circumstantial factors, I also worried about financial ones – how could I not? I wanted to be able to take a year off to be with the baby – would we be able to afford to live on one income? And what about all of the STUFF babies seemed to need?  How much does a new baby cost?

Over the last eight months I’ve come to view baby stuff in the same way I viewed wedding stuff – there’s a lot of hype, you don’t need half of it and the moment the word “wedding” or “baby” is slapped on something, suddenly you find yourself paying two or three times as much for something you’ll only use for a short period of time.

With this in mind, and because I try and make eco-friendly choices whenever possible, we made the decision early on to buy secondhand wherever possible.

For some things (like a crib mattress, or nursing bras) buying secondhand wasn’t an option I even entertained, in others (like the carseat) Adam and I disagreed about whether to buy new or not, but in most scenarios it worked out incredibly well and we sometimes ended up finding things for less than 10% of what they would cost new, as well as doing a small part to stop the consumer waste cycle by giving perfectly good baby stuff another go round.

So, BEHOLD! How much it might cost to ready your life for an adorably tiny screaming creature if you are cheap, or a hippie, or both:

Items Purchased New

Organic Crib Mattress:  $270.00
Sheets x2:                   $13.00
Maternity Clothes:        $50.00
Not-A-Nursery Decor:   $35.00
Belly creams:               $100.00
Nursing pads (Etsy):     $20.00
Change pad cover:       $10.00
Wet Bags x2 (Etsy):     $50.00
Car detailing:               $135

Items Purchased Used

Crib:                          $50.00
Peg Perego Carseat:    $120.00
Carseat infant insert:   $5.00
Cloth Diapers:             $180.00
Baby Clothing:            $200.00
Change pad:               $10.00
Dresser & Re-do:         $100.00
10 Receiving blankets: $5.00
Swaddles x2:              $8.00
Ergo carrier:               $75.00

Gifted Items From Family/Friends

Magical vibrating/rocking baby chair, cloth diapers, bassinet, rocking chair, Not-A-Nursery wall art, diaper bag, misc. clothes/toys/adorable knitted things.

Misc. : $150 

(this category is here for things I’ve forgotten to record – I tried to be pretty good at keeping track of purchases, but I’d rather over-estimate than under, so I added $150 to be safe)

Grand Total: $1596.00

I’m pretty happy with this amount. To be honest, I always thought it would cost multiple thousands of dollars to baby up your life – and it’s probably very easy to come close if you’re buying $500 cribs and brand new onesies at twenty bucks a pop. And to be honest, there’s plenty of indulgences in my list that I could’ve done without if I was on a tight budget or wanted to cut down even more (e.g. Car detailing, ridiculously expensive organic belly butter, organic crib mattress rather than normal one etc).

So, lesson learned, with a little effort baby stuff can come cheap!

If you want to buy secondhand, Craigslist/Kijiji is your best friend, as are local Baby Buy and Sell groups on Facebook. Babies use things for 3-6 weeks max, so clothing is always in mint condition, and between these two resources I was able to find all of what we needed in great used condition. It was also a really good way to meet other moms and find out what worked for them, get recommendations on baby services in town etc.

Now you know my life! Questions? Comments? How much did you spend for baby? Am I missing anything?

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